Outside Optimax on Monday (17 May), I was sent a text that Jeremy Vine wanted people with dry eyes to email him for a 'phone in’ discussion on his BBC Radio 2 show that day
I knew he wouldn’t talk to me - remember when he asked Jeremy Vine On 5 viewers whether he should have laser eye surgery? I had called in and they wanted me to speak, but after being on hold for ages I was told they’d run out of time!
Details posted 3 May 2019.*
Four of them then received calls from the programme's researchers asking for brief details. Again not mentioning eye surgery, all were advised they might get a call back in the next 15 mins to speak on the show...
We planned that I would hijack the conversation given an opening, so when Aaron Winter's call came asking him to stand by, we rushed to my nearby car where it was quiet.
I was shaking like crazy, and had to reassure Aaron that it wasn’t due to nerves - I was running on pure adrenaline!
Waiting for at least 10 minutes - me worried that his phone would run out of battery, Aaron was finally told he was going on air!
Jeremy Vine asked him a few questions, and Aaron answered before handing his phone to me whilst JV was still chattering on...
The recording is self explanatory, and I was speaking fast because I expected to be cut off immediately - not sure why I wasn’t, but perhaps I was too quick for them!
You'll notice that JV didn't even acknowledge my existence, but at least Dr Sarah Jarvis agreed with me about government regulation!
Emails from Natasha Birch & Leigh Stace were mentioned, both with us at the demo - and we did laugh at Sarah Jarvis offering advice to Leigh when she had no idea why he has dry eyes!
She’s a female version of Hilary Jones, who knows everything about every medical problem - via Google and scribbled notes before going on chat shows as an 'expert’!
You can listen to the full discussion here...
Without naming the company, it was a blatant promo for Optical Express by Jenny Eclair - google her name + Lipiflow and see what you find!
And until I found them yesterday, I’d forgotten that I'd replied to her tweets about OE and Lipiflow in 2018 - but today it appears she's deleted them!
Meanwhile , Sarah Jarvis was totally incorrect when she said that Lipiflow is a 'one off’ fix for dry eyes!
And her comment that you should only have eye surgery with nhs.uk trained ophthalmologists ignorant and uninformed!
Regardless of which, thrilled that I finally managed to get My Beautiful Eyes Foundation mentioned on air, the BBC having cut so many of my interviews over the last five years!
"More blatant censorship this morning!
I got through to Jeremy Vine On 5 at 9.30am, introduced myself, and was told my name had been mentioned by quite a few callers, and one of the programme's researchers would like to speak with me.
The researcher took plenty of details from me, said they’d definitely want me to speak on air, and would flag me up with the gallery (production team).
Another person then called, asking me to be available to speak at 10.15am, with a reminder not to mention any laser provider by name.
Next call at 10.15am, told they were about to put me through to Jeremy Vine, and to please only talk about my laser eye surgery, not my work as My Beautiful Eyes campaigner and patient advocate. Wtf?
Quickly biting my tongue I said OK, if that’s what you want… (fingers crossed behind my back!)
And then I waited... listening to the audio feed - wanting to scream at Sheila (NHS cataract surgery & laser for floaters) that she DID NOT have laser vision correction, and that LVC is NOT available on the NHS!
The exact words I said were, 'Unf*ckingbelievable - more bias!’, before I slammed the phone down on the person who came back to me to say sorry, they’d run out of time!
'On 4 July, Mr Dance took his life in the plant room of the hospital where he worked, leaving five suicide notes in his car for Ms Phillips, his sister and his three children, saying he could not cope with his poor vision.' 🖤
Whilst Sai Kolli was Paul's operating surgeon, Denise Phillips blames Mark Wevill for his suicide.
"In her evidence, Ms Phillips, mother of Mr Dance's youngest son, said he had left the meeting with Mr Wevill fearing he could lose his sight and that he would become a burden on his family.
In his evidence, Mr Wevill, often close to tears, said Mr Dance had been seeking guarantees about his treatment that he could not give as all procedures carried risk.
Mr Wevill's email to his colleague said that in the consultation of 24 June he had explained that he should not have his new lenses removed. [Pushed for YAG, which he convinced the coroner was risk free!]
He added: 'He didn't listen then and probably won't listen again. He's a Sai patient and is going to consume lots more time.’ [Mark Wevill had typed ‘LOTS’ in upper case!]
He went on to ask about Optegra's plans for his fees 'for managing Sai's problem patients'.
Mr Wevill told the inquest he had been 'frustrated and fraught', not with Mr Dance, but with his workload, which was making it difficult to give patients the care they required.
The coroner asked if there had been any further contact before 4 July. Mr Wevill replied: 'I regret to say I didn't make contact.'
After he was questioned by Ms Phillips' representative Sasha Rodoy, a patient advocate who runs the My Beautiful Eyes Foundation campaign group, Mr Wevill offered Ms Phillips a tearful apology.
He said: 'I am really sorry for your loss. I am really sorry I wrote that horrible email.
'Ms Phillips said: 'I will never forgive you.’ [She grabbed the microphone and shouted this at Mark Wevill.]
The Coroner concluded that Mr Dance had been made aware of the risks of the surgery by Optegra. [Because he accepted their evidence as gospel.]
After the inquest, Ms Phillips and Ms Rodoy called for the Government to introduce strict regulations on the refractive eye surgery industry, and to ensure potential patients were fully aware of all risks."
After weeks of preparation, on behalf of his partner Denise Phillips (Dee), I spent today questioning the witnesses at Paul Dance’s inquest - they chaperoned by lawyers and barristers - and though I say it myself, I did a damned fine job
Unfortunately however, the coroner, David Reid, chose to accept what the two surgeons claimed re informed consent and statistics.
Close to 6.30pm, immediately after Mr Reid delivered his decision, Dee and I were interviewed by journalist Michele Paduano for this evening's BBC News, standing together outside Worcestershire Coroner's Court...
On my way back to the hotel, I was shocked to discover that I’d been cut from the broadcast, and having not answered my phone call questioning why, this was his text message: ‘Yeah I basically f*cked it up - sorry. None of your clips were libel free. Sorry’
For the record, I like (and had trusted) Michele, giving him this story initially, and on his behalf, asking Dee to allow BBC News to film the funeral cortège in August, the clip included in his broadcast last week (26 Nov post).
Michele Paduano is an experienced journalist, and would have known if I was saying anything libellous when he interviewed me, able to offer me the opportunity to rephrase my comments - surely?
And the only clip I believe might have given BBC legal department cause for concern was my criticism of TV personalities like Ruth Langsford (lucratively paid 'ambassador' for Clarivu, Optegra's brand name for lens exchange) persuading people to have eye surgery - in her case telling people, ‘Do it, do it, do it!’ - without any warnings of risk. But even that was factual.
I’m still in Worcestershire, can’t drive back to London in the dark because of my own visual problems after laser eye surgery at Optimax in 2011 - the reason for my work that has taken over my life, but when I’m home, I’ll tell you more as soon as I can.
Unlike the BBC, who had no reason not to do so, I will also identify the two surgeons.
'Denise Phillips, 46, from Worcester, had been with electrician Paul Dance, 62, who had no history of depression or previous self-harm, for more than 18 years and they had a 16-year-old son together. Paul hated wearing glasses and paid £6,990 to have new lenses surgically put into his eyes in January, but was left distraught after learning that a deterioration in his vision would require a second operation.'
"Denise explained: 'He left that meeting distraught because he didn't know what to do and feared he might go blind. He had lost hope, felt abandoned and couldn't face life anymore.'
She added: 'I have to make this public because he asked me to. I feel that if one person reads it and decides not to risk going through what Paul did, his death will not have been in vain.'
Denise has been supported by Sasha Rodoy, who runs the My Beautiful Eyes Foundation and acts as a patient-advocate for those who have concerns over refractive eye surgery..'
David Reid, Senior Coroner for Worcestershire, will conduct the inquest on December 2 at Stourport-on-Severn.
A spokesperson for the company [OPTEGRA]said: 'We are extremely saddened by Mr Dance's death and offer our sincere condolences to the family.
'As the inquest is ongoing, it is not appropriate for us to comment at this time and, as required, we will support the coroner with any procedures or requests he has.’"
To anyone who might not understand just how serious the risks of unregulated refractive eye surgery are, please be in no doubt that his lens exchange operations at Optegra Eye Hospital were entirely to blame for Paul Dance's suicide 🖤
'An electrician took his own life after corrective eye surgery apparently left him with dry eyes and blurred vision.
Paul Dance, 62, had wanted to avoid wearing glasses, his partner said, and he died at Worcestershire Royal Hospital, where he worked, on 4 July.
Following his death, his family wanted to make others aware of the risks from eye surgery.
Optegra, the company that performed the surgery, said it offered its condolences to the family.
However, it said it would not be commenting until the inquest concludes.
Mr Dance left four suicide notes. They all focused on anxiety about his eyes being the reason for taking his life.
Denise Phillips, a district nurse, said her partner of more than 18 years had been extremely laid back in life but hated wearing glasses.
He paid £6,990 to have new lenses put into his eyes, thinking that it would transform his life, she said.
Following the surgery in January, Mr Dance reported seeing haloes and that he could not distinguish them from street lights, she said.
Before his death on 4 July, he began to obsess about his eyes, Ms Phillips said, and had become worried about driving at night and being able to do his job.
"I hope that we can make people aware of this," she said.
"I just want people to be aware of the dangers so that Paul's life is not in vain.
Campaigner Sasha Rodoy said she was aware of many people who had suffered problems following eye surgery and is campaigning for further regulation of the industry.
"This surgery is not cosmetic," she said.[Sasha said much more, but BBC News editors chopped it!]
'BBC Scotland has learned that a major high street chain of opticians is reopening for non-urgent, elective treatments apparently in breach of Scottish government guidelines… However the Scottish government told the programme: "We cannot comment on the specific claims because we are not aware of the full details however, opticians should not be undertaking non-urgent procedures at this time.”’ (Link in previous post)
Why didn’t the Scottish government tell BBC Scotland News, ‘We will look into this’?
Hmmm... let me think why that might be
With David Moulsdale publicly schmoozing with Scotland’s First Minister perhaps the government didn’t want to embarrass Nicola Sturgeon - OE having taken the opportunity to associate her (and legendary racing driver Sir Jackie Stewart) closely with his corrupt organisation.
The moral and financial wrongness of this partnership cannot easily be ignored, with so many thousands of Optical Express damaged patients forced to turn to the NHS for aftercare - at enormous cost to all four UK nations, often for life!
It is outrageous that the Scottish government have entered into this alliance.
A little history: With the help of some of his wealthy and influential buddies, including Sir Tom Hunter and Lord Jack McConnell, I was told that David Moulsdale was chasing a knighthood when OERML arrived on the scene in 2012, and one of the ways people do that is to publicly support as many high profile charities as possible - and funnel a lot more money to ‘helpful’ parties!
(I understand that OERML trashed his chance of a knighthood.)
Jaw dropping hypocrisy with Moulsdale’s previous involvement in the RNIB: 'From 2001 - 2004 he was the Chairman of the Royal National Institute of the Blind'
Coincidentally, one of their many thousands of damaged (lens exchange) patients contacted me yesterday and told me that he'd just spoken with 'Simon' at the Optical Express Birmingham store.
Asking to see someone asap, he was told that he would have to wait up to three weeks for an aftercare appointment - because they are ONLY seeing new patients from Monday!
Of course they are, because Optical Express will be struggling to make money now they have to pay wages, and new patients will be pressured to book surgery and leave hefty deposits, whereas damaged patients are a drain on their resources, wasting valuable sales time.
Meanwhile, people are STILL waiting for their deposits to be refunded for surgery that was cancelled months ago!